On Monday night Grant and I broke the news to Tyler that one of our cats had suddenly died. He hadn’t said much more about her. Then this morning I was in the kitchen and I heard him talking to our cat, Scotty. “Are you sad that your brother died, Scotty? Don’t be sad, it’s okay.” Scotty was looking at him and listening. Despite the fact that Spanky was a female, I praised Tyler on how kind he was being to Scotty.
As I settled Tyler in for his breakfast he suddenly asked me a question I wish he didn’t have to ask me at his age. “Mommy, what happens when you die?” I was thrown for a loop, I just didn’t think he was capable of asking such a philosophical question when he wasn’t even four-years-old.
I said, “Well, when a person or animal is old, and Spanky was old, or very sick, they go up to Heaven. Just the good parts go up there. Like what is in here and here”, I said, pointing towards his brain and heart. “Tyler is more than just this knee or this arm”, and he started to giggle. “You now how we always tell you that you are such a good boy and have a good heart, and are funny and smart? Those are the parts that go up to Heaven.
“Spanky is up in Heaven with Grandpa Joe (my father) and Rosie (our other cat) and some fish. Grandpa Joe waited for Spanky to come up to Heaven and then he took her to his room. And now Spanky is well and happy and is playing again with Rosie and Grandpa Joe. Grandpa Joe really loved cats.”
Tyler was smiling and laughing at that image. And I was too.